Trivial Pursuit Video Games
EA Video Game Versions of Trivial Pursuit
Trivial Pursuit Video Games
EA Games' Trivial Pursuit video games are pretty much the same game no matter what system you play them on. Available on Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and even for the iPhone, this game is an attempt to translate the number one trivia board game in history to video game platforms.
EA Games added some new twists to the classic gameplay of Trivial Pursuit, upgrading the game (with the help of Hasbro, who owns the official Trivial Pursuit license) for a modern video game audience. Some of the tweaks are successful enough, Hasbro ought to pay attention and consider having EA Games help them revamp the board game, but that's an opinion for another day.
EA Games' Trivial Pursuit: An Overview
The video game console version of Trivial Pursuit by EA Games has three different playing modes: Classic, which is similar to traditional Trivial Pursuit, Facts and Friends, which is a totally new style of play that is at once competitive and collaborative, and Clear the Board, which is meant to be played solo.
Classic is the standard Trivial Pursuit board game rules with some video game conventions thrown in. The main difference is that you pick from multiple choice answers rather than providing the answer on your own.
In Clear the Board, one player plays alone trying to collect all six wedge pieces and answer the final question. The big twist is that you play on a points system--earn a specific points multiplier for each correct question, but you only get one shot at each space on the board. Clear the Board is a race against the top, competing for a solo high score. This is a great way to brush up on your trivia and practice for future board game rounds of Trivial Pursuit, except the difficulty level of the questions is about on par with the very weak Genus III or (at best) Genus IV.
If you play Facts & Friends mode, you'll be playing an all-new style of Trivial Pursuit. Every player in Facts & Friends uses a single token. Every correct answer in Facts & Friends earns points toward a wedge, but only one player gets eventual credit for winning that wedge piece. There are bonus games and a wagering system that really adds to the game, and at some point you'll find yourself saying "What game is this again?"
In Facts & Friends (sound similar to Wits & Wagers, anyone?) you can bet on if your opponent will get a question right or wrong--correct bets earn points for you. Bonus spaces (that replace the old "roll again" spaces) provide fun challenge games, like the Wedge Challenge which lets you steal other player's wedge pieces. Trivial Pursuit has never been so cutthroat.
Facts & Friends is a shorter and more interactive version of traditional Trivial Pursuit, so it is a great party game, although the fact that it is still built around trivia (and easy trivia at that) means it doesn't have much replay value. My big complaint with Facts & Friends is that the "Wedge Challenge" bonus comes up on the screen so often it gets really old after a while. This makes Facts & Friends Trivial Pursuit a defensive struggle, and because there's no penalty for failing a Wedge Challenge, players who are losing use it time and again to try and catch up. This is a glitch in the game's rules that needs attention.
No matter which version of Trivial Pursuit you play, you'll enjoy what EA Games has added in terms of visuals. Video games are a visual medium, and EA has added plenty of visual effects, even incorporating them into the questions themselves. There are image clues and answers, questions built around graphic maps, and other visual tricks that help keep the trivia game fresh.
Here's an example--the question shows a picture of a cow, and the question has to do with what part of the cow a certain cut of meat comes from. EA Games balanced these questions well with traditional trivia questions, so the game doesn't become too easy or too much of a graphics-fest.
Trivial Pursuit & Multiple Choice Answers
In my review of the EA Games Trivial Pursuit game for the iPhone, I really lambasted EA for the multiple choice aspect of their Trivial Pursuit app. The biggest change to the Trivial Pursuit board game formula as its presented here for video game systems is the same as the iPhone app--rather than coming up with a trivia answer on your own, the console version of EA Games' Trivial Pursuit asks you to select from multiple choices of answers the game provides.
I've already mentioned how much I hate this answering system in detail in the iPhone game review, so instead let's take a look about why this multiple choice aspect of the game can be a good thing. For starters, a wider pool of players can participate, not just bookworms and trivia fiends. You can get the whole family involved, since many of the questions are visual clues involving maps and other graphics. It helps the game move faster, since there are fewer missed questions. All in all, it isn't the worst possible way to play Trivial Pursuit, it just isn't ideal for hardcore Trivial Pursuit players.
EA and Hasbro have put together a better game than most people expected when it was announced that a Trivial Pursuit game was coming out for multiple gaming platforms. Mixed in with Wii Fit and Wii Tennis, it is a great addition to Wii game nights, adding a brainy element that the Wii console has often lacked. Also, the game is presented beautifully, with nice sound and graphics, and a huge range of questions so the game has some possible replay value. If EA would add online multiplayer, this would easily be the most perfect translation of Trivial Pursuit ever made.